Here are my top tips for purchasing a healthy, absolutely gorgeous poinsettia for the holiday season. One that will make your house beautiful, and your neighbors "green" with envy!
First, check the color of the bracts (the colored leaves). If they are bright, without green along the edges, then you are on your way to picking your poinsettia.
Next, make sure the poinsettia is not producing pollen. If the center buds are displaying pollen, this is a mature plant and the colored leaves will start to fade very soon.
Take a look at the green foliage of the poinsettia. You want to have a plant with dark green foliage and leaves down to the soil-line.
Make sure there are no curled dried leaves or yellow leaves on the plant (these are signs the plant has not been looked after).
Check the moisture of the earth it is planted in. It should be not too wet, not too dry (the top two inches of soil should not“sopping” wet-just moist-even dry, and the roots should be moist).
This is the rule of thumb for this plant. If the soil is too dry, and the plant will curl up and die. Too wet, and the plant will "yellow" and turn to mush. Once the plant has become too wet or too dry it is damaged. If a store has not cared for the poinsettia properly, it is doomed-and even the greatest “green thumb” has no chance to save it.
Next, check to see how the poinsettias are displayed.
If they are still in their large plastic sleeves, find out how long they have been in them. If they have just been unloaded from the truck, it’s a great time to buy. If they have been sitting in that sleeve even for a couple of days, there will be damage.
Pull down sleeve and survey the damage. Broken bracts, leaving huge bare spots on the plant, are the usual culprits. The leaves may “yellow” from too much moisture trapped inside the plastic wrap. It is best to find one that has been unwrapped, with lots of breathing space around it. This also allows you to see if any damage has occurred during shipping.
And the last point…
If you live in a colder climate, make sure the poinsettia is wrapped to take home. How cold does it have to be to have your poinsettia wrapped? Well some experts have an exact temperature. But since I rarely carry a thermometer in my purse (maybe if I dig to the bottom!), I always use this simple “rule of thumb”…